The always interesting and informative annual Trans World Radio visit to Wetaskiwin this year took the form of a weekday luncheon held at Calvary Baptist Church. While fewer came than usual, it was still a good opportunity for people to come together from many of the churches in the community.
The presentation included video highlights from the 60 years that TWR has been broadcasting the Gospel message to increasingly larger portions of the world, and information on many of the challenges and new uses of technology in today's world.
In 1954, Trans World Radio began broadcasting the Gospel into Spain from a transmitter in Morocco. At that time, Spain was ruled by Franco and no one was allowed in to tell the Gospel message. Six years later, the extremely powerful station built in Monte Carlo by the Nazis’ to spread their propaganda was acquired by TWR and used to spread the Gospel message to all Europe and beyond, as programs were developed for broadcast in more and more languages. In 1964, a transmitter at Bon Aire allowed expansion of broadcasting into most of Asia. Project Hannah, broadcasting the Gospel and information on issues such as nutrition, raising children and others of special interest to women, began in 1997. Seminary on the Air, programming to inform and empower pastors, was developed in 2001. By 2002, TWR was broadcasting in 180 languages worldwide. Radio can go where missionaries cannot go, to people hungry for the Gospel in countries where it is officially illegal to convert to a different religion, in countries where it is illegal for Christians to gather, in countries where people risk their lives to become Christians.
McDaniel Phillips spoke about one of the biggest challenges that TWR is trying to meet now: the need for discipleship training, to know how to live out the Gospel in daily life in the home, in the workplace and in the community. He recognizes that many are becoming, "wealthy in Bible knowledge but poor in living it out." This makes the flocks very dependent on the leaders, but one person can only adequately raise and care for a limited number of people. Pastors plead, "Teach us to be fathers to our flocks."
Every Christian needs to become a disciple who is able to help others to grow up and disciple others. TWR is using the new technologies to help meet this challenge. One SD card can have the Bible and 100 to 200 programs on it. MP3 players and earphones make it both easier and safer to learn and grow in the faith. The internet and social media are excellent means for communicating the Gospel and providing the fundamentals for living it out and growing as disciples.
Ray Alery told of the situations in different countries and the challenges of getting the excellent materials available to TWR into the many languages and onto the technology that is most useful to the individuals.
One of the very neat things about this technology is that so much of it is oral, so it is useful and used in oral societies where many of the people cannot read or write. Trans World Radio remains at the for-front in using new and effective ways to reach more and more of the world for Christ, and growing the Christian church world wide.